Northern Ireland news

Kingsmill inquest: Gardaí could use court in Republic to give evidence

DUP leader Arlene Foster and relatives of the Kingsmill victims after meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney in Armagh.
Michael McHugh, Press Association

GARDAÍ could give evidence on what the force knows about the Kingsmill shooting via a court in the Republic, the foreign affairs minister has said.

Legislation is planned in Dublin to enable special co-operation with the long-running inquest in the north as bereaved relatives seek the truth about the IRA attack.

But DUP leader Arlene Foster said the proposed law would not cover those gardaí serving at the time of the atrocity and called on authorities in the Republic to disclose more information.

Ten Protestant textile workers were shot dead in January 1976 when the minibus they were travelling in was stopped near Kingsmill in south Armagh.

The attack was later claimed by the South Armagh Republican Action Force but is widely believed to have been carried out by the Provisional IRA.

May Quinn, whose brother Bobby Walker was driving the minibus bringing the workmen home, said: "They have made promises to us before - let's make sure that they fulfill them this time."

The Irish authorities have handed over 30 documents plus newspaper clippings but bereaved relatives insist there must be more.

Ms Quinn said she remembered her sibling's killing every day.

"I look at my brother's photo every morning in the hall," she said.

"If I knew who did it, that is what I want to know, who did it, name them and shame them."

Some relatives have threatened to boycott the inquest over what they claim is a lack of co-operation by authorities in the Republic.

The Republic's foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said all related documents in possession of the Garda had already been handed over to the inquest.

He met some of the families and Mrs Foster in Armagh last night.

"What we are looking at now is passing new legislation in Ireland to allow An Garda Síochána to actually give evidence in an Irish court in relation to an inquest in Northern Ireland, which is very new, I am not sure that it has been done before," he said.

"I think it is certainly evidence of the fact that the Irish Government want to be as helpful as we can.

"The families that have lost loved ones have been through a torturous period in terms of trying to get to the truth and I can promise that the Irish Government wants to assist them in every way we can."

Mrs Foster said the proposed law mirrored legislation taken in the Omagh bombing civil case so that serving gardaí will be able to give their evidence to a High Court judge.

"But of course that does not solve the problem of those people who were serving nearly 42 years ago and that is the difficulty," she said.

She said there was a "dearth" of documents disclosed so far, with 60 out of 90 being newspaper cuttings.

"Is it really credible to suggest that that is all the documentation that is held?" she said.

Beatrice Worton's son Kenneth was murdered.

She said: "I want action. I am coming 90 in September and I want to see something done."

 

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